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going west to save health care reform. let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm lawrence o'donal in new york. leading off tonight, on the road again. with polls showing support for health care reform slipping, president obama hit the road again this time in belgrade, montana. the crowd was much friendlier than those rowdy town halls we have seen, but the president finally did get a couple of questions that were not complete softballs. chuck todd joins us in a moment from montana. plus, you know those end of life counsel prognosis visions in the health care bills which republicans, like sarah palin, have distorted into death panels? it turns out republicans were
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actually for end of life counseling before they were against it. that's just one of the inconsistencies we'll discuss with republican john culbertsoc. >> and how far has he fallen? there is a report that john edwards is about to finally admit he is the father of his mistress's child? where would he be if edwards had not been so wisely dejected by wise democratic voters last year. >> and bill clinton has some tough words on the networks crowd on don't ask don't tell. >> and what does it mean to be palinized? ask one who says it could easily happen to her. the definition coming up on the hardball side show. first president obama and his latest push for health care reform. nbc news chief white house
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correspondent chuck todd is traveling with the president and joining us from montana. by my count there were two questions that were not complete softballs in there today. how do these audiences for the president get selected? how is that different from how the audiences show up at the town halls for the congressmen and senators? >> are a few more hoops you have to jump through to go to a presidential town hall, considering security. you would assume there should be extra hoops. for this one, they did it differently. they handed tickets out in person two to a customer, essentially, until they ran out. it's more likely a supporter will want to get in line early, be like -- get in like an old-fashioned rock concert, where you might sleep overnight to get your ticket, than an opponent with these congressional town halls, as you know, lawrence, it's easier to
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get in because you don't have to worry about registering in advance, getting a ticket in advance. that's why there's been some difficulty for the white house to make sure they're getting a wide array. as you pointed out, he got two tough questions he had to deal withky tell you in speaking with the nra member who asked a question, he was appreciative of the president's answer but not yet satisfied. >> all right. let's listen to his question right now. >> as you can see, i'm a proud nra member. i believe in our constitution. >> yeah. >> it's a very important thing. i also get my news from the cable networks, because i don't like the spin that comes from them other places. >> you have to be careful about those cable networks, though. go ahead. >> max baucus, our senator, has been locked up in a dark room for months now, trying to come up with money to pay for these programs. >> right. >> we keep getting the bull, that's all we get is bull.
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you can't tell us how you're going to pay for this. you're saving here. you're saving over there. you will take a little money here, take a little money, if there, but you have no money. the only way you're going to get that money is to raise our taxes. you said you wouldn't. max baucus doesn't. >> i'm happy to answer the question. >> thank you. >> look, you are absolutely right that i can't cover another 46 million people for free. >> chuck, what was the -- you talked to the guy who asked that question what was his dissatisfaction with the answer which went on for quite awhile. >> essentially, he doesn't necessarily believe when government says they will save money on a program that there will really be money saved from a program. so, look at the history of
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government over the last 10, 12 years, maybe you do understand why there might -- some people might think that. they see a lot of hype about they claim they will save money over here, see waste over there. it's that disillusionment that some in the middle -- for what it's worth, he said he was a mccain voter, he drove 300 miles to come to this town hall. again, he said i think the president answered the question as best he could. he believed the president was sincere, but i think where the disbelief comes from is this idea, well, once government spends money, they never know how to save it after that. that cynicism is one of the great challenges this administration has had to deal with, starting with bank bailouts. >> thank you, chuck todd. looks like you have to get on the plane. >> i guess so. >> all right, sir. joining me now, "time"
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magazine bureau chief michael duffy. on this week's edition a story of how las vegas is gambling on a big comeback. barack obama is bgambling on ma baucus's ability to get him a bill he can sign. how does that look today? >> you have to imagine at some point, the president and max baucus had a conversation of whether they do this in a bipartisan fashion or at some point they have do it just with democrats. i suspect that conversation has to happen or is happening now. that's a decision they don't have to make yet. i think everyone in that committee of two, which you said is the most important, would like to do it it's not clear they will be able to. >> obama must have asked max baucus today what do you make of these things chuck grassley has been saying in town hall meetings? i think the most important thing
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grassley said -- forget about the death panels reference, what he said about having kept his finger in the hole, preventing legislation to go forward and allowing protests to go on now. he didn't say he kept his finger there to make legislation better. he said i slowed this down for you to do the protests that you are doing now. that has to worry about baucus and obama, doesn't it. >> he had a meeting today where he said i will vote against anything that is rationing that is government run. he had a bunch of things that he said in a town hall meeting today. baucus and grassley have something very much in common, you know this as a former finance committee guy, neither of their caucuses wants them talking to the other party. >> coming up, why are conservatives and republicans so adamantly opposed to the health
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care bill? we'll ask john culbertson. >> and this sunday, david gregory will tackle the health care issue with dick armey, tom coburn, tom daschle and rachel m maddow. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. these days, when you have to spend, shopping online can help save.
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joining me now, john culberson of texas. let's listen to katie abram at senator specter's town hall meeting. >> she's my hero. >> oh, good.
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let's listen to her now. >> i don't believe this is just about health care. it's not about t.a.r.p., it's not about left or right this is about the systematic dismantling of this country. i'm only 35 years old. i have never been interested in politics. you have awakened sleeping giants. >> you choose your heroes well. i had her on this show the other day after she did that. she doesn't do this kind of tv every day, like you do. i asked her exactly how would she want senator specter to answer that question? what would she want him to do to restore the country back to where she would want it to be? what would be on your checklist? let me give you the question she said to specter -- what are you going to do to restore the country back to what our founders created according to the constitution? what are the things in the government now that would eliminate in order to do what katie wants? >> i have drafted legislation, lawrence, which i will file when
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congress reconvenes which makes all federal grant programs optional, that the state legislators would have to pass a law and approve every single dollar -- >> grant programs are -- >> no, no, lawrence -- >> let's get to the single biggest thing in the federal budget. what would you do with social security? i assume repeal it? that is socialism, isn't it. >> lawrence, katie's question -- >> congressman -- >> i'm answering your question. >> would you repeal social security? >> no, lawrence, i'm answering your question. katie is asking what would we do in congress to restore the constitution. there are $60 billion worth a year of grant program money going out the door every year, lawrence. that's big money. >> it's nickels and times compared to social security. >> $60 billion a year is -- you're being argumentative, lawrence. >> tell me what would do with social security. it is socialism, it was imported
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from germany. fdr took it on it. is pure socialism. you muss want to repeal it, don't you? >> the way the federal government has -- >> you're not going to answer. >> do you want to repeal medicare? >> of course. no one -- no one in congress has suggested repealing either social security or -- >> none of you want to go back to where the founding fathers were, do you? none of you do. >> of course i do, lawrence. i'm a jeffersonian -- >> do you -- >> i guess you don't want me to answer the question. >> how can you live with medicare? how you can accept medicare? is medicare socialism? >> i'm not sure you want me to answer the question, lawrence. >> is medicare socialism. >> no one is suggesting that. >> is medicare socialism? can you say yes or no? >> of course not. >> it's not socialism? tell me why it's -- because it's old it's not socialism? because it was done in the '60s. >> lawrence, i think -- you illustrate -- for your
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listeners, you are illustrating why msnbc's viewership is in the tank. you don't allow the people you're interviewing to answer. lawrence this is why katie and everybody else is going to facebook, why listen to msnbc when you don't let the people you're interviewing answer the question. >> i don't want you to spin your time here. i want you to get serious. >> i am trying to get serious. you are trying to change the subject, my friend. >> let's delete the over 65 part of medicare and make it available to everyone. what's your argument against that. >> no one has ever suggested repealing medicare or -- >> why not? they're both socialistic programs. if we are going to restore the country to the constitutional framework the founders gave us, you have to start with the federal grant programs that sent $600 billion a year, sent out every year to the states. once the states accept that money, the federal government has its tentacles and it's hooks
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in the states. >> if you were able to vote in 1935, would have voted for social security. >> of course in 1935, it was -- excuse me, wait a minute. am i going to be able to give an answer here or not? do you wonder why nobody listens to msnbc? >> they don't want to hear your endless spinning. >> it's not spinning. in 1935 -- >> would you vote for or against medicare? >> in 1935 social security was set up as safety net, as last resort. >> still is. >> it was there for people who grew up in the depression, my dad told me without those safety nets people just died. >> that's right. >> that's unacceptable. >> enacted over the democrat ic president -- >> you're heroes. >> so are you saying fdr was wrong or right. >> i just told you if i was here in 1935, the limited scope of social security as it was
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designed, as a safety net, i would have voted for that. i voted against the medicare prescription drug bill. >> congratulations. >> i voted against -- >> would you have voted against the invention of medicare in '65 -- >> i'm not sure why you had me on today if you're doing the whole show. i'm giving you a serious answer to katie's question. >> give me a yes or no whether you would have voted for medicare, then you can talk for the rest of the segment. >> yes, in 1965 medicare f it was designed -- i don't know how it was originally set out in '65, but social security was a last resort -- >> was there a yes in there somewhere? >> medicare is a successful but wasteful program that wasteses a lot of money. >> is there a yes? would have voted for it? >> medicare in 1965, y i probably would have voted for it. >> go ahead. spin away. >> we have a crisis of cost
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today, lawrence. the cost of health insurance. this government, this new congress, the new president has taken advantage of an economic crisis to, as the chief of staff of the president has said, to do as much as they can, to not let a good crisis go to waste. they are trying to exercise full control over the health care system, that's what katie and the rest of russ objecting to. we knows there a crisis in costs, lawrence. we, on the fiscal conservative side, want to focus on the crisis in cost. eliminating the waste. >> let's go to the crisis in cost. you know that medicare is a completely government-run health care system, yet you are saying would have voted for it? >> and we, today, need to focus on eliminating the fraud, waste and abuse in medicare. >> let's do that. >> let's focus on -- one dollar in three dollars spent for
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medical devices are wasted or fraudulent. these scooters you see advertised, a lot of that is unnecessary, pushed on people. there is a new scheme in harris county to set up ambulance services to charge $500 to medicare to drive people drocto doctor. >> let me get this straight -- you would have voted in 1965 for a single-payer government-run totally government-controlled health care system for people 65 and older? you said you would have done that. >> i'm not completely familiar with the way medicare was structured in '65. i do know how social security was set up in 1935 -- >> you know what happened in '35 but not '65? >> i'm more familiar -- >> but you are sure would have voted for medicare even though -- >> we are in a time of 2009, a
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time of record debt and deficit. i'm here in good faith and earnest to talk to you and your listeners about the fiscal conservatives in congress who are working hard to lay out alternatives to the problem. >> here's my problem -- >> to stop fraud and protect the patient/doctor relationship. >> you lie to america about the evil of government -- >> what. >> because you people, not one -- >> lawrence, you don't know who i am. >> none of you are willing to repeal medicare, to be stand up and be consistent and say i hate government-run health care. instead you lie to medicare recipients that you're on their side and tell everyone else government health care is evil. >> lawrence, you don't know the first -- >> you guys do this every day. >> do you wonder why nobody watches msnbc? unbelievable? do you wonder why no one watches
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msnbc? you call me a liar on national television. it's objectionable. it's offensive. >> you have lied -- >> you have never interviewed me, buddy. you don't know who i am. >> you lie and pretend it's an evil. >> i had a town hall meeting the other week, and it was uplifting because we're on the same page. my constituents and i agree that we have the greatest health care system in the world, and i'm going to fight until my last breath to protect the texas medical center, and my constituents right to make a decision about their health care with their doctor without int interference from this government, this congress and this president. we want to make it affordable, but do you that by using common sense, fiscally conservative approaches that are common sense
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and protect the patient/doctor relationship. >> thank you. up next, newt gingrich has a six-point plan for success for ex-alaska governor sarah palin. details next on the side show. bicycle, what are we waiting for? the flowers are blooming. the air is sweet. and zyrtec® starts... relieving my allergies... 2 hours faster than claritin®. my worst symptoms feel better, indoors and outdoors. with zyrtec®, the fastest... 24-hour allergy medicine, i promise not to wait as long to go for our ride. zyrtec® works fast, so i can love the air™. special inrest groups are trying to block progress on health care reform, derailing the debate with myths and scare tactics. desperately trying to stop u from discovering that reform won't ration care. you and your doctor will always decide
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the minnesota congressman is raising the bar for bizarre behavior. this week she put out an e-mail saying don't let them palinize me, which is to smear or mock someone using falsehoods, baseless accusations, unsubstantiated
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characterization. with palin taking a step out of the spotlight, it appears that i may be getting more of the liberal scorn. don't worry, congresswoman, i'm betting that sarah palin won't stay out of the spotlight much longer. former house speaker newt gingrich has unsolicited advice for the alaska governor. he gave a six-point plan. the first one, write a book. become a commentator on a network. get a condo in new york or washington. master three speeches, the money speech, the brand or policy speech, and then the stump speech. get a national project, newt would have her working hard on this plan now, but be careful of newt's advice, because you know he wants to be the next
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